A TikTok account for the Devonshire Arms pub in Coventry, England, claims to show how bartenders actually handle it when someone returns a pint of beer to the bar, complaining that it “doesn’t taste the best.”

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In a viral video with 3.1 million views so far, a bartender takes the returned beer, then heads downstairs to where all the kegs are feeding up to the taps, does a quick check to make sure the hoses are connected right, and then sits down to check her phone.

“Every time that certain person brings a pint back….” the video description reads. “You know who you are….”

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After a bit, the bartender walks back upstairs, refills the beer to the top, and hands it back to the customer.

“Thanks love, tastes good,” says the overlay text.

In a response to a comment, the TikTok account remarked on how customers like these “always feel better when you have ‘been to check the barrel’” even though they’re getting the exact same beer every time when they bring it back. In other comments, however, they say that the video is a joke in response to people suggesting that the glass might be the problem.

Whether this pub meant it as a joke or not, it’s probably true that bartenders have and will continue to do this kind of thing. Multiple commenters have compared this to retail workers pretending to check in the back when customers are upset that something is out of stock, even though the worker knows that they don’t keep extras in the back, ever.

It not only helps to placate the customer, it’s a chance to spend a precious minute or two off of one’s feet during a shift that could be eight hours or more with zero sitting time outside of mandated break periods.

Additionally, those who have worked in fast food remarked that they have put things like fries in new bags when customers returned them with complaints about the taste, saying that this always seems to work. One bar worker even said that they keep an empty keg in the back so that they can make sounds like they’re swapping it out.

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Then there were the commenters who clearly have never worked jobs where they had to deal with customers claiming that the bartender could save time and energy by just pouring a new beer. The point, of course, is to make it look like you’re doing something to fix a problem that caused the beverage to taste off, even though the taste was probably all in the customer’s head.

The reality is that the human sense of taste is quite fickle, and how something tastes can be affected by a myriad of different causes. Medications, aging, smoking, anything that impacts your sense of smell such as illness or allergies, and even mood can change the way something familiar tastes, and it seems that the act of pretending to take action can do so as well.

The biggest fans of this video are the people who have had to work with customers, with many of them taking notes or simply cheering this pub on.


“‘Doesn’t taste the best’ sorry no one else has complained,” wrote another.

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*First Published: May 24, 2023, 12:48 pm